Student-run Cafe sells last lunch Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Danville Weekly Online, on Jan 18, 2010 at 6:59 am
The popular Cafe@Culinary served its last meals Friday to long lines of students at Monte Vista High School. The snack bar, which has been run by the school's culinary class for many years, now will be managed by Chartwells, the provider of all the district food services including the cafeteria across the walkway.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, January 17, 2010, 7:36 PM
Posted by Barb, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2010 at 6:59 am
Anytime a teacher takes the initiative to do something extra to help students learn life skills, it should be honored and rewarded. I hope this can happen here. Our young adults deserve to have training opportunities for future jobs as not all students may want to go directly to college. Congratulations to a teacher who has come up with a creative way to make that happen. I've heard that some of her former students have started their own businesses!
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2010 at 8:42 am
This is a sad commentary on how this school district, which should be creating opportunities for students, bows to business interests. This is just another example of poor educational decisions. AND, might I add, why is the public finding out about this after the cafe closed? Hopefully something can be done to get the student-run establishment reopened for future years. Chartwells shouldn't have to be the only choice!
Posted by Shelly, parent of a student in Culinary 1, a member of the Monte Vista High School community, on Jan 18, 2010 at 11:32 am
I have had several e-mails back and forth with Terry Koehne and in the last one I received from him he finally admits: "*Also remember that the district’s food services program has been seriously operating in the red (encroaching on our general fund) – eliminating competing food sales will help the program get closer to a “break-even” point. " The district is facing a 7 million short fall. Does anyone REALLY believe the district is going to continue funding the Cafe? I don't. This community has always tried to work with the district to help fund programs that in other districts have fallen to the wayside. The district wants the Cafe? Fine. BUT, state clearly that Chef Joe can create a different way to give the students all those skills by selling her products to Administration, Staff and Parents at any time during the school year. As of right now, Gary Black has stated that she cannot sell products to ANYONE. I dare Mr. Gary Black to prove me wrong by stating unequivocally at a board meeting or in a letter to all parents of SRVUSD that the culinary program at MVHS can sell products to anyone at anytime as long as they are not current students.
Get in an uproar parents. Encourage your teenager to voice their displeasure in a non-damaging, non-violent way by boycotting all food sold at MVHS until the end of the school year.
Posted by Blackhawk resident, a member of the Monte Vista High School community, on Jan 19, 2010 at 10:54 am
This is a travesty! Just another reason why public schools are failing! The bureacratic red tape strangles commonsense and initiative on the part of students and teachers. To all the parents of young children, find a better alternative for your children then to put them in the government run schools.
Posted by Culinary 1 student, a member of the Monte Vista High School community, on Jan 19, 2010 at 7:33 pm
I am in the culinary 1 class at Monte Vista this year, and I have learned so much in that class and it's only been one semester, I cook for my family all the time now and they love it. But without the funding from the cafe we can't cook as much because there isn't enough money to pay for all the food, and I'll have you know our lab fee wasn't cheap it's higher than any other class in Monte Vista and it still doesn't cover all the costs. I have a lot of friends that have gone through her 2nd academy class and because they have that kind of work experience they have been able to get jobs at local restaurants. With the economy like it is now you have to be more qualified to get a job. I have personally ate from the both the cafe and the district food, the district food is terrible on both levels of health and taste. When I go to the cafe I know it's healthier, and I feel better about buying lunch when I know it's not processed and fried.
Posted by Susan Marie, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 20, 2010 at 5:55 am
The bottom lines here are district control and company profit. Most parents who are CEOs and financial officers understand perfectly why the district made the decision it made. Whoever the district contracts with must make a profit or else, in this economic (and intellectual) arrangement in which the company mind pretty much decides the lay of the land and controls the market (or tries to). Otherwise, the company takes its services elsewhere. And, given the responsibility of the schools to feed children and not lose money, what are the schools going to do? All that said, I am sad that such an arrangement sounds the death knell of innovative and independent, educational possibility. I wish the district and the Board could have figured out another way. Students in the Monte Vista Culinary Program will still learn how to cook. But now, so many other important lessons are no longer possible in that experience.
Posted by Pedal Power, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jan 20, 2010 at 11:17 pm
I have a hard time with this because I can see both sides of the argument but Susan Marie nailed it quite nicely; the district probably had little option.
There is nothing to stop students from voting against MBHS food with their lunch boxes but, on the days when they forget or run out of time to prepare their own lunch, they may live to regret not supporting the MGHS option when the find the cafeteria doors locked because it was uneconomic to keep it open.
There are a couple of good lessons hiding in here:
1. no matter how good or bad the food you serve is, the laws of economics still apply. You might sell quite a lot of crappy food if you can price it cheap enough, and you can make the best food in the world but you won't sell enough to break even the selling price is more than the market can bear.
2. preparing delicious nutritious food is one thing, preparing delicious nutritious food on a tight budget is quite another.